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Rough Justice

Written By: - Date published: 10:28 am, July 31st, 2010 - 14 comments
Categories: crime, law and "order", police, prisons, us politics - Tags: , , ,

The Economist has a great article looking at the American propensity to deprive their citizens of their liberty for trivial offenses.

America is different from the rest of the world in lots of ways, many of them good. One of the bad ones is its willingness to lock up its citizens (see our briefing). One American adult in 100 festers behind bars (with the rate rising to one in nine for young black men). Its imprisoned population, at 2.3m, exceeds that of 15 of its states. No other rich country is nearly as punitive as the Land of the Free. The rate of incarceration is a fifth of America’s level in Britain, a ninth in Germany and a twelfth in Japan.

As they point out it is primarily a political problem

Some parts of America have long taken a tough, frontier attitude to justice. That tendency sharpened around four decades ago as rising crime became an emotive political issue and voters took to backing politicians who promised to stamp on it. This created a ratchet effect: lawmakers who wish to sound tough must propose laws tougher than the ones that the last chap who wanted to sound tough proposed. When the crime rate falls, tough sentences are hailed as the cause, even when demography or other factors may matter more; when the rate rises tough sentences are demanded to solve the problem. As a result, America’s incarceration rate has quadrupled since 1970.

The same thing has been happening at a lesser rate in other countries as well for the same reason. In NZ we’ve been seeing this counter-productive trend for some time. People are being locked up for longer for more and more trivial offenses. There appears to be little or no effect on the rate that crimes are committed. What does make a difference is funding the police so that they are able to do their job. This was quite evident in large increases in police numbers through the 00′s to the point that they were able to detect and deal with the minor offenses that lead on to further offenses.

Conservatives and liberals will always feud about the right level of punishment. Most Americans think that dangerous criminals, which statistically usually means young men, should go to prison for long periods of time, especially for violent offences. Even by that standard, the extreme toughness of American laws, especially the ever broader classes of ‘criminals’ affected by them, seems increasingly counterproductive.

Many states have mandatory minimum sentences, which remove judges’ discretion to show mercy, even when the circumstances of a case cry out for it. ‘Three strikes’ laws, which were at first used to put away persistently violent criminals for life, have in several states been applied to lesser offenders. The war on drugs has led to harsh sentences not just for dealing illegal drugs, but also for selling prescription drugs illegally. Peddling a handful can lead to a 15-year sentence.

This type of draconian punishment is just silly. After the arms race of promising to get ever tougher on crime, you can wind up going to jail for long periods for very trivial offenses. The only real result is that we wind up paying large amounts of our taxes to build and maintain prisons. Ultimately that money gets pulled away from the police and social programs that work to prevent crime. Quite simply increasing punishments doesn’t act as a deterrent, it is a waste of effort and resources.

It does not have to be this way. In the Netherlands, where the use of non-custodial sentences has grown, the prison population and the crime rate have both been falling (see article). Britain’s new government is proposing to replace jail for lesser offenders with community work. Some parts of America are bucking the national trend. New York cut its incarceration rate by 15% between 1997 and 2007, while reducing violent crime by 40%. This is welcome, but deeper reforms are required.

This is one of the few areas that I find myself in full agreement with Deborah Coddington. Her article last week “Victims’ clamour weighs heavily on scales of justice” was looking at the absurdities of the victimology

This is just that mad lot from Sensible Sentencing, who have the gall to try to call themselves a charity, having their hysterical influence on the National Government and its support party Act.

Who, for instance, does the ministry think it is kidding when it starts out by stating “a greater focus on victims will assist in reducing the cost and impact of crime on individuals and society in general”?

Then further on we find the ministry proposes to establish, among other initiatives, a “Victims of Crime Complaints Officer, and require criminal justice agencies to report to Parliament each year about their responsibilities to victims”.

This officer would tell Parliament how many complaints were received, which agency received the complaints, what they were, whether they were sorted out, and how, ad nauseum.

You can see where this new bureaucracy is going.

Set up a complaints department and the moaners will form a disorderly queue.

There is a lot more in that short article. The nett effect is likely to be more people being incarcerated for longer for no real reason and a grave distortion on the process of the justice system. Simon Power is idiotic for bowing to the minor political pressure and actively pushing this policy.

In this coming election in 2011, I’d suggest that voters actively vote for candidates and parties with policies that are more orientated to preventing crime than pandering to the idiotic slogans of pressure groups like the Sensible Sentencing Trust. In fact don’t vote for anyone who hasn’t issued a statement saying that they think the SST are fools and why. It would be nice to get rid of them out of the political spectrum.

14 comments on “Rough Justice”

  1. bbfloyd 1

    it is now the case in nz that certain charges now require the defendant to prove their innocence, rather than what, i know most of us regard as a cornerstone tenet of our justice? system. that is you are innocent untill proven guilty. the cannabis laws are one example that i know of where the law has been fundamentally changed to shift the onus of proof onto the defendant. it is unbelievable to me that such a fundamental shift toward napoleonic law can be undertaken without any kind of public knowledge. how far away are we from ordinary people being afraid of the police? and when bring arrested for any crime could mean families and friends of anyone arrested can be harrassed and arrested purely for associating with the person arrested? this can only be viewed as an attack on peoples ability to defend themselves from false arrest or police persecution.

  2. Jenny 2

    In a previous post on the causes of crime, I reviewed a recent report from New Scientist about social decay.

    I was startled by the conclusion by New Scientist that the rise in crime, tied with the rise in repression go up together, not in response to each other so much, as in relation to growth in the inequality in society.

    The rich become more fearful and paranoid and so indulge in more repression, while the poor feel more powerless and fearful and alienated and indulge in more crime.

    As New Scientist put it:

    The effects are felt right across society, not just among poor people. “Inequality seems to change the quality of social relations in society,’ says Wilkinson, “and people become more influenced by status competition.’ Anxiety about status leads to high levels of stress, which in turn leads to health problems, he says. In unequal societies trust drops away, community life weakens and society becomes more punitive because of fear up and down the social hierarchy.

    This third effect has more to do with the rise in both repression from the rich and powerful and crime by the poor and powerless.

    • Jenny 2.1

      My conclusion is that state sanctioned violence and repression ie. tasers, armed police building more prisons, more punitive sentences, is just as much a social negative as crime. Of course it doesn’t get quite the same amount of bad press.

      Captcha – dividing

    • lprent 2.2

      Do you have a link to that? Sounds interesting. But it does tally with my observations

      • Jenny 2.2.1

        Hi Lynne
        I am not sure which link you were referring to, the following is the link to my review. The link to the original New Scientist article which I based my comments on, appears at the end of my post.

        Cheers, Jenny

        The Underclass

        Here are some fuller quotes from the original New Scientist article:

        People in deprived areas face two kinds of hazard, Nettle says. First, there are constraints on what they are able to do to mitigate their situation. Diet is a prime example: ‘It’s much more expensive to get 2000 calories a day from fresh fruit and vegetables compared with eating junk food,’ Nettle says. Then the environment is often physically more dangerous and unhealthy. ‘People are doing more dangerous jobs. There is probably more air pollution, more car accidents, a higher crime rate, poorer housing – things you cannot really do much about, which trigger a downward spiral of faster living and less attention to health.’

        It’s all relative
        Still, reducing poverty alone probably isn’t the answer. In their book The Spirit Level (Allen Lane, 2009), epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, of the universities of Nottingham and York, UK, respectively, emphasize the degree of income inequality in a society rather than poverty per se as being a major factor in issues such as death and disease rates, teenage motherhood and levels of violence. They show that nations such as the US and UK, which have the greatest inequality in income levels of all developed nations, also have the lowest life expectancy among those nations, the highest levels of teenage motherhood (see diagrams) and a range of social problems.
        The effects are felt right across society, not just among poor people. ‘Inequality seems to change the quality of social relations in society,’ says Wilkinson, ‘and people become more influenced by status competition.’ Anxiety about status leads to high levels of stress, which in turn leads to health problems, he says. In unequal societies trust drops away, community life weakens and society becomes more punitive because of fear up and down the social hierarchy.
        ‘Really dealing with economic inequalities is difficult because it involves unpopular things like raising tax,’ says Nettle. ‘So rather than fighting the fire, people have been trying to disperse the smoke.’ Politically it is much easier to pump money into education programs even if the evidence suggests that these are, on the whole, pretty ineffective at reducing the effects of poverty.
        There are two quite different ways that societies can be made more equal, Wilkinson says. Some countries, like Sweden, do it by redistribution, with high taxes and welfare benefits. In others, earnings are less unequal in the first place. Japan is one such country, and it has one of the highest average life expectancies and lowest levels of social problems among developed nations. Other important factors, says Wilkinson, are strong unions and economic democracy.

        PS. The first quote I thought was very pertinent to the current debate on removing GST on food which is currently making it’s way through parliament. A social good that of course John Key instinctively and vehemently opposes.

        A bid to remove GST on healthy foods to lower costs has been slammed by the Government.
        Prime Minister John Key said the Government will not support Maori MP Rahui Katene’s bill

    • ZB 2.3

      Why do people band around negatives as if they could add to a debate, negatives are symptoms not causes, they are what get our attention but do not provide the whole solution. The error of ACT, Sensible Sentencing Trust neo-simplistic solutions are just that they stay concentrated on the symptoms. Laws goes out and sells Gang branding! Intimidation! It was a shocker to hear, now more people than ever fear gang patches like many in gangs want!

      We cannot have civil liberties without a civil society. America fails because instead of providing a civil society it spent its oil money providing a seperated society, everyone loving a large yard away from each other and cars doors seperating them. NZ has a poor civil rights record, high gang participation and high crime indicate that our society is not as civil as it could be.

      So what I’m trying to say is you can either claim a strong human rights society by keeping people from engaging one another (faking it) or you can like so many Western European State actually get on with solving social problems and showing citizens how and why other citizens need space, need citizens to give up a little. e.g. Londoners, NYers, all have the habit of going round people in their way, because it takes longer to ask people to move! This breeds people who are capable of not taking easy offense, they accept, because they see it ever day, people unthinkingly getting in each others way and know that those who will succeed will be those who get over it and move on, focused.
      Suburbs allow people to just get on, they keep everyone out of each others way, and so breed a much less tolerant car driving and neighbor society. This is why NZ needs medium housing in and around city centers, to breed social citizens that learn how to get along without having to spend half an hour nattering pleasentries like they lived in the back country! Geez.

      Create diverse living environments, solve the human density problems and you get better civil rights, civil societies,
      do the opposite, segregate and keep citizens apart and they will never learn. Gangs are an indictator of a failure of civil rights and we should all be ashamed, most especially the Human Rights Commission who seem more interested in protecting the rights of gangs to assemble by being silent about the law abiding rights of citizens. Gangs are unions of young men who are disaffected, looking for security, and seeking status. They are not new, gangs exist whereever there is a breakdown of governance, and putting young men in jail just makes them worse when they only crime was trying to survive. Full employment should be a government goal, repression was easy like cheap easy oil and debt, now repression will cost us all more as we come more insecure and push even more young men into gangs.

    • Good comment Jenny. This mirrors the findings in the book “The Spirit Level”.

      The greater the inequality the worse the performance of the society.

  3. Ag 3

    Why is this a surprise?

    The US is, despite its traditions of individual liberty, peopled by very authoritarian (in the social psych sense) folk. It’s a very strange culture where people constantly laud freedom in the abstract, but are deathly afraid of it in the concrete.

  4. Marco 4

    I agree that ending social deprivation will have a stronger influence on crime than tougher sentences. What tougher sentences achieve is more abhorrent crime as criminals fight harder to avoid capture.

    However, fringe groups such as SST provide an outlet for people and it’s up to politicians to ignore them rather than pander to them. Sea Shepard in some circles could be considered a group as reactionary as SST, even Greenpeace have openly disapproved of their methods.

    Whilst most people would like lower crime and and end to whaling and groups like these have a right to express their opinions, unfortunately these extreme views sell advertising for media outlets so they won’t go away in a hurry.

  5. randal 5

    the pinheads rool dude.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Yep, I’m very very glad that I don’t live in the US – the home of the eternally paranoid.

  6. Rex Widerstrom 7

    Yes, we’re not as bad as America but we shouldn’t be congratulating ourselves because we’re getting there… and by a route which is more pervasive and dangerous. The US does, as other commenters have pointed out, have an authoritarian streak. Australia and NZ do not… the former was founded by convicts, for goodness sake!

    We’re not, for the most part, instinctively inclined to draconian punishments. But we’re having this tolerance eroded daily by the sickening exploitation of victims by the Sensible Sentencing Trust and their allies in the media, always on the lookout for tears and raw emotion no matter whether it’s an eliminated reality show contestant or the spouse of a murder victim.

    Our natural tendency toward reason and balance, toward punishment and rehabilitation, toward condemnation and compassion, is constantly attacked. “What, you don’t want this young offender locked away without natural light and subject to prison rape?! Why, you’re as good as telling this grieving widow to go to hell!!”

    The SST uses the very qualities that have led NZers to take a “sensible” view of justice and manipulates them into making us feel guilty. Almost, I’d go so far as to say, feel like parties to the crime unless we join the chorus baying for harsher punishments.

    The truly sad thing is, when the anger stage of the grief process has passed (and we “grieve” for everything from a stolen bicycle to a murdered loved one) rationality returns. But by then the SST doesn’t want to hear from victims. Nor does the “system” – I’ll bet that if the “Victims of Crime Complaints Officer” starts receiving complaints that the process as it stands is doing nothing to help victims cope, it’ll be disestablished or otherwise be swept under the carpet.

    What McVictim and his crew are doing is fighting to deny victims the kind of freedom from sorrow and anger experienced by this woman.

    LP, I commend your last paragraph to everyone. I just hope that by 2011, some party has expressed such sentiments because as it stands at present none are worthy of consideration under your criteria (though based on their performance in Australia on this issue, I have high hopes for the Greens).

  7. Roger 8

    I read this in a local paper some time ago that suggests a link between a highly punitive justice system and higher crime rates, it is worth a read.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/opinion/off-pat/3259999/Expert-warning-on-get-tough-rules

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    Labour | 16-04
  • Term One Report Card for Hekia Parata
    Assignment Teacher’s Comments Grade      ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students but said nothing about it, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Exams are stressful enough...
    Labour | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    The ACC Minister needs to front up and explain what, if any, changes she has made to the broken culture of ACC rather than denying that she has any part to play in the dysfunction of her Ministry, the Green...
    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam tomorrow by a government whose record on wage growth is atrocious, Labour spokesperson on...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC have been denied cover, says Labour’s ACC Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The legality of ACC’s privacy waver,...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says. Due to speak to a cycling rally at...
    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour Leader Speech to the Institute of Directors 15 April 2014, Auckland It's a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of Directors has a proud history of developing New Zealand's...
    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • SPEECH: Saving our Kauri
    Seech notes Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today. As a West Auckland MP I am very aware the kauri is an important part of this place. The Waitakere Ranges with their thousands of kauri, are a taonga....
    Labour | 12-04
  • MANA to continue negotiations with the Internet Party
    The MANA AGM has decided unanimously tonight to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected....
    Mana | 12-04
  • National’s tax dodge
      National’s insistence that it is cracking down on tax dodgers is little more than a bit of election year chest beating, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Revenue Minister Todd McClay surely doesn’t believe collecting $100 million of an estimated...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Housing prices go up – Gens X & Y give up
    Today’s REINZ report shows house prices continue skyward while first home buyers are dropping out of the market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand the national median house price has risen...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Do Key and Adams support Chorus appeal?
    John Key and Amy Adams must tell New Zealanders whether they support Chorus’ appeal of the High Court’s ruling in favour of the Commerce Commission, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Chorus’ appeal is a waste of time. The company is...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Is Judith Collins unapologising
    Judith Collins appears to have retracted her apology for failing to disclose her meeting with her husband’s fellow company directors and a senior Chinese border control official just weeks after being ticked off by John Key for not doing so, Labour...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Media Advisory
    There have been a few minor changes to the MANA AGM agenda. Moana Jackson is unable to attend due to family commitments. Speaking in his place on Saturday morning MANA is pleased to welcome Georgina Beyer and Willie Jackson. MANA...
    Mana | 10-04
  • Green Party requests inquiry into Peter Dunne and Trust
    Green Party MP Denise Roche today wrote to the Parliamentary Registrar of Pecuniary Interests requesting an inquiry into whether Peter Dunne should have included his involvement as chair of the Northern Wellington Festival Trust on the Register of Pecuniary Interests...
    Greens | 10-04
  • Veterans short-changed
    The Veterans’ Support Bill reported back to Parliament today rejects a key recommendation of the Law Commission Review on which it is based and ignores the submissions of veterans and the RNZRSA, says Labour’s Veterans’ Affairs Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “A...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Tribute for Maungaharuru- Tangitu settlement
    Labour Member of Parliament for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Meka Whaitiri paid tribute to Maungaharuru-Tangitu today as their Treaty of Waitangi settlement became law. “The Bill acknowledges Treaty breaches that left Maungaharuru-Tangitu virtually landless. Today we were reminded of the history, mamae, loss...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Neglected rural and regional roads will cost more lives
    The government must take urgent action to prevent more accidents to truck drivers and other road users of increased logging trucks on neglected roads, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Transport spokesperson. “The dangers to drivers and other road users in the...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Judith Collins’ refusal to answer a disgrace
    If John Key is holding his Ministers to any standards at all, he must make Judith Collins answer questions about the senior Chinese official she met during her taxpayer-funded visit to China last October, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Judith...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Ryall needs to heed hospital workforce issues
    The public health workforce, the same one Tony Ryall argues is making a lot of progress is facing increased pressure and staff burnout through his continued shuffling of the deckchairs, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Mr Ryall uses all...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Key ducks but can’t avoid High Court slap
    The High Court’s slap in the face to John Key and his Government over Chorus has left it with no option but to accept the Commerce Commission’s lawful process in deciding the price of copper, says Labour’s associate ICT spokesperson...
    Labour | 09-04
  • First home buyers shut out as LVRs bite
    The bad news continues for young Kiwis as the latest Core Logic report shows the proportion of first home buyers has declined since LVR lending restrictions came into force, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Twenty two centres across the...
    Labour | 09-04
  • MANA – and, or, or not – DOTCOM
    Both MANA and the Internet Party share goals in common with other parties, like getting rid of National and reining in the GCSB. There are also differences, as there are with other parties as well. MANA accepted a request to...
    Mana | 09-04
  • Wise heads want wise response
    Labour accepts the challenge laid down by the Wise Response group to protect and future-proof New Zealand’s environment and economy. A petition calling for urgent action was presented to Labour’s Environment and Climate Change spokesperson Moana Mackey at Parliament this...
    Labour | 09-04
  • Greens support high profile Kiwis’ call for climate action
    The Green Party fully supports a group of high profile Kiwi business people, lawyers, academics and commentators delivering a petition to parliament today calling for the Government to take the threat of climate change more seriously.Wiseresponse, a group of over...
    Greens | 09-04
  • Mayor’s jobs initiative shows up inactive Govt
    Auckland Mayor Len Brown and the Auckland Council are to be congratulated for providing opportunities for young people to get into work, but it stands in stark contrast to the National Government overseeing spiralling youth unemployment, Labour’s Employment, Skills and...
    Labour | 08-04
  • National discovers public servants needed after all
    New figures released today show National has done an embarrassing U-turn after discovering it actually does need the public service, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Maryan Street says. “Wellington now has the most public servants it has had since 2000. Figures...
    Labour | 08-04
  • School closures about saving Hekia, not kids
    The National Government's decision to merge Phillipstown and Woolston schools is another disaster for Christchurch and proves this Government is more interested in saving face than in what is best for children, the Green Party said today."Hekia Parata's stubborn refusal...
    Greens | 08-04
  • Cosgrove writes to invite Countdown to Committee
    Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove has today written to the Chief Executive of Progressive Enterprises Dave Chambers, asking him if he would accept an invitation to appear before the Commerce Select Committee. “Yesterday National MPs blocked my motion to invite...
    Labour | 08-04
  • Phillipstown will get reprieve under Labour
    A Labour government will allow Phillipstown School to stay open, with a review after two years, Labour’s Associate Education spokesperson Megan Woods says. “Hekia Parata has failed the Phillipstown community with today’s decision to close the school. “It is disgraceful...
    Labour | 08-04
  • State Housing waiting lists go through the roof
    The waiting list for State Houses has risen by over a thousand in the past three months, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Low income people are feeling the sharp end of National’s housing crisis. A shortage of affordable houses...
    Labour | 08-04
  • Hekia Parata fails to answer basic questions
    Education Minister Hekia Parata’s inability to answer even the most basic questions about her proposed new Executive Principal roles will have alarm bells ringing in school communities all around the country, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools are already concerned...
    Labour | 08-04
  • Guy gets it wrong by any measure
    The Ministry for Primary Industries being forced to reprint rulers designed to help recreational fishers measure their snapper catch is right up there on the incompetence scale, Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI is having to spend another $8000...
    Labour | 08-04
  • GUEST BLOG: RIO TINTO WINS 2013 ROGER AWARD
      Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third  The seven finalists for the 2013 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand were: ANZ, Chorus, IAG Insurance Group, Imperial Tobacco, Rio Tinto, Sky City Casino and Talent 2. The criteria for judging are...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • National drowning in an ocean of poisoned milk
    It is becoming difficult to keep up with which National Party MP is bleeding the most at the moment. Simon Bridges is being crucified by Whaleoil almost as much as Greenpeace are attacking him, suggesting Cam is seizing the moment...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Want to get rid of synthetic cannabis? Legalize real cannabis
    Have we managed to appreciate the madness that synthetic cannabis is legal yet more harmful than organic cannabis which is illegal? I find the current moral panic over synthetic cannabis difficult to become concerned with when alcohol is FAR more...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Save our homes – stop the evictions!
    “We will keep on fighting because it frightens me to think my grandchildren could become homeless,” Tere Campbell told me. Tere is a member of Tamaki Housing Group. In September 2011, tenants in 156 state homes in Glen Innes received...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The daily humiliation of women and the constant policing and shaming of our...
    The last few months have been particularly bad for the shaming and policing of women’s bodies in the media, both in New Zealand and globally. First we had NZ Newstalk ZB presenter Rachel Smalley referring to women weighing over 70kgs...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • A case study of racism by Police at Auckland Airport
    A couple of days ago I returned from Samoa after attending a family matter and some contract work. Spending a few days in the warmth of our homeland was welcome relief from the cold weather starting to make its presence...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • An acute shortage of emergency youth housing
    The housing crisis is effecting everyone in Christchurch but some are more vulnerable than others. Recently I attended a workshop on emergency youth housing hosted by the 298 Youth Health Centre, who I worked for from 2001-2003. Over fifty people...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The Oceans Issue
    The ‘Earth’ is 71% water but our oceans are the last frontier. The oceans are huge, relatively unexplored, full of weird and wonderful diversity. In New Zealand we’re never far from the sea, and our identity, our landscapes, our communities,...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Fear of South Auckland
    Fear of South Auckland...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • TV News Geography
    TV News Geography...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The best bit about gay sex
    The best bit about gay sex...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 1
    On not voting 1...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 2
    On not voting 2...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Labour on trucks
    Labour on trucks...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Claire Trevett shows how biased msm works
    Read this nonsense by Claire Trevett… David Cunliffe denies claims he is ‘running scared’ Labour leader David Cunliffe has dismissed claims he is running scared from Prime Minister John Key and playing hard to get over a Campbell Live series...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Why won’t Judith Collins identify who the Chinese ‘bureaucrat’ is?
    Rumour as to the real reason Judith Collins won’t reveal who the mysterious Chinese ‘bureaucrat’ is who dined with her at a private dinner is because the Chinese ‘bureaucrat’ wasn’t some lowly border official and they are actually a junior ranking member...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Fighting PNG corruption and social media gags with … outspoken blogs
    Graphic: shutterstock.com Dr David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific THE BLOGGING war is hotting up in Papua New Guinea – just when things are getting riskier with draconian proposals over cybercrime law on the horizon. The state target for...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • UNbelieved – the true racism of NZ
    Racist Cartoon by Al Nisbet sums up the casual racism NZers enjoy The New Zealand government must consider United Nations rebukes on their indigenous rights record as ordinary and unremarkable by their casual reaction to the latest indictment - delivered through the clear and clinical...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: What has ACC Minister been doing? Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 | Press Release Judith Collins has made such little progress on ACC’s unacceptable privacy practices and needs to be held to account for...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Labour turns wheels for cycling safety With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: SPEECH: Institute of Directors LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour LeaderSpeech to the Institute of Directors15 April 2014, Auckland It’s a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: More Oravida endorsements from John Key The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • 85 more jobs killed by the NZ dollar – Christchurch textile firm in recei...
    Source: First Union – Press Release/Statement: Headline: 85 more jobs killed by the NZ dollar – Christchurch textile firm in receivership News that the high New Zealand dollar has claimed another textile firm has come as a huge shock to...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support Tuesday, 15 Apr 2014 | Press Release Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have been driven to the wall by a...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Boots Riley to perform live in Auckland
    Press Release: Mana Tamaki Branch are excited to announce that we have a very special guest, Boots Riley, coming to our very own neighbourhood! On Tuesday April 15 at 7.00pm Boots will be hosting a political discussion and Q&A followed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Comparing Maori Party $5000 per ticket John Key Fundraiser at sexist Northe...
    So MANA can’t contemplate an alliance with Kim Dotcom because he is wealthy and MANA is not and that’s a terrible hypocrisy. Shock. Horror. So what is one to make of the Maori Party holding a $5000 per ticket closed...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • David vs Goliath – Key’s housing affordability TV debate challenge
    John Key allowed his frustration to get the better of him at yesterdays press conference when he responded to a question on housing affordability by shooting back that he would debate David Cunliffe on the issue. Cunliffe has accepted. The...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Deborah Manning joins Team Cunliffe
    Deborah Manning is a very good friend of mine and seeing her join Team Cunliffe in Wellington is just another example on top of Matt Mcarten and Clint Smith’s appointments that Cunliffe is serious about putting together the best strategic...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • If a tree falls in a forest, does Simon Bridges hear it?
    If a tree falls in a forest, does Simon Bridges hear it?...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • A picture says a thousand words, this one says about 20 000
    A picture says a thousand words, this one says about 20 000...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Comparing Key to Snowden
    Comparing Key to Snowden...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Latest Banksy
    Latest Banksy...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Valuing Teachers
    Valuing Teachers...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Plans-to-tax-the-rich-will-result-in-capital-flight-and-the-talented myth
    Plans-to-tax-the-rich-will-result-in-capital-flight-and-the-talented myth...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • TPPA is corporate thuggery
    TPPA is corporate thuggery...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Why we need feminism
    Why we need feminism...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Method In His Madness: Why did Russel Norman make Labour an offer it couldn...
    THE LINE FROM LABOUR is that the Greens made them an offer they couldn’t accept. Delivered in the condescending, world-weary tone one usually associates with a headmaster reprimanding one of the dimmer boys from the Lower-Fifth, the suggestion, clearly, is...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • iPredict has possible MANA-Internet Party alliance at 3 seats
    Latest iPredict scores has MANA at 1.1% and the Internet Party at 1.5% – combined that’s 2.6%, the party list percentages would roughly be… 2 seats (i.e. electorate and one list): (1.2%) 3 seats: (2%) 4 seats: (2.8%) 5 seats:...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Adam Bennett and his wonky Tai Tokerau logic
    Adam Bennett, the NZ Herald’s political reporter, has published a column with some wonky Tai Tokerau logic… Unless the Mana Internet alliance pulls off the unlikely feat of reaching the 5 per cent mark on election night, all of this...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Boots Riley performing for MANA fundraiser
    Mana Tamaki Branch are excited to announce that we have a very special guest, Boots Riley, coming to our very own neighbourhood! On Tuesday April 15 at 7.00pm Boots will be hosting a political discussion and Q&A followed by an...
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • Businessman who is taking Blogger to court for defamation attacked
    The NBR are reporting (paywalled) that Matt Blomfield, the businessman taking Cameron Slater to court for defamation, has had been attacked last night with shots fired at his home. How vicious and nasty. Thoughts are with Matt and his family....
    The Daily Blog | 14-04
  • When in trouble – blame the “filthy benes”!
    . . A recent Roy Morgan poll had some very disturbing news for National and it’s shrinking support-base; .   . The poll results; Right Bloc National: 43% (down 2.5%) Maori Party: 1.5% (down 0.5%) ACT NZ: (0.5%, unchanged) United...
    The Daily Blog | 13-04
  • Border ‘butchers’, absentee poll reps and West Papua’s growing strife
    A West Papuan in handcuffs at a recent “Free West Papuans” rally in Auckland. Photo: Del Abcede/PMC THE INDONESIAN parliamentary elections this week were disappointing on a number of fronts, especially for presidential frontrunner Jakarta Governor Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. His...
    The Daily Blog | 13-04
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes Key’s Rejection of ‘Fat Tax’
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Prime Minister John Key’s rejection of fat and sugar taxes ahead of this year's election. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Union, says:...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Law Commission Paper on a New Crown Civil Proceedings Act
    The Law Commission has released A New Crown Civil Proceedings Act for New Zealand , its Issues Paper on reforming the Crown Proceedings Act 1950. The Issues Paper proposes a new statute to replace the Crown Proceedings Act 1950....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for NZ workers
    Maritime Union says focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for New Zealand workers...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Make the choice to stay safe on the road
    With Easter and Anzac Day giving us two successive long weekends this year there will be a lot of happy families preparing for trips....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Students Welcome Engagement with StudyLink
    The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the improved performance from StudyLink in 2014. There is no doubt that getting their loans and allowances processed on time makes it easier for students to concentrate on being...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised
    Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised Imagine if you could not access vital news and information. What would you do?...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Public lose interest in this council, 2016 to be a watershed
    The second term Auckland Council is proving to be an interesting one and very different to the inaugural 2010 – 2013 Governing Body. We are currently going through a budget round to lock in where council’s $3b expenditure is directed...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour and National join forces in new Maori confiscations
    Chris McKenzie, former-treaty negotiator and Te Tai Hauauru Maori party candidate, says that the Minister of Primary Industries’ plans to remove temporary exemptions for vessel operators derived from settlement negotiations is akin to confiscation...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • The FCV Bill – Flagging 30 years of failures?
    Paying seafarers at least a minimum wage under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 has applied to the New Zealand fishing industry for more than 30 years. It was, and is, a basic protection which had two universals – it was...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014
    Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014 Kiwis across the country are getting together over a cuppa to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty in the developing world. They’re getting involved in Oxfam’s Morning Tea, a fun and...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • 1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know How
    1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know Where to Go...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award
    Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third - The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational (a corporation with 25% or more foreign ownership) that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following categories: economic dominance...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • ACC’s Strategy to stop compensation using ACC 167 Form
    On Radio NZ national’s morning report on 15 April 2014, ACC’s spokesperson Sid Miller denied the non-compliance was just a way for ACC to refuse people....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Workers support plain packaging of tobacco
    The CTU have today presented to the health select committee in support of plain packaging of tobacco. “Any steps that can be taken to lower smoking rates will result in New Zealand workers and their families having healthier and better...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Christchurch Housing Accord a Joke
    Christchurch Housing Accord a Joke Hugh Pavletich Performance Urban Planning Christchurch New Zealand 16 April 2014 The Housing Accord entered in to today between the Government and the Christchurch City Council, can only be described as a joke. Christchurch...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Infographic : World Giving Index 2013
    Infographic from Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index 2013 A Global View Of Giving Trends (click to see full size version)...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Tranter questions CEO’s assurances
    “There is a bizarre notion among bureaucrats, politicians and others that if they say something then it must be so - despite all evidence to the contrary” said David Tranter, Health spokesman for Democrats for Social Credit....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • UNICEF NZ Urges Progress on Plain Packaging of Tobacco
    In its oral submission to the Health Select Committee today, UNICEF NZ expressed its strong support for the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill as a measure that will help reduce the uptake of smoking, and urged parliament...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Whitebait partners look for solutions
    Waikato-Tainui, local marae, councils and agencies are working together to better manage whitebait fisheries at Port Waikato following the compilation of a new report....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • NZ’s biggest killer fails to receive the Roger
    The Smokefree Coalition is disappointed Imperial Tobacco did not win the Roger Award for Worst Trans-national Company operating in New Zealand, despite manufacturing products that kill 5000 New Zealanders every year....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Tukituki decision a win for water quality and farming
    The draft decision by the Board of Inquiry (BOI) on the Tukituki Catchment proposal represents a significant win for freshwater management and the urgency of a transition to environmentally sustainable agriculture in New Zealand, says Fish & Game NZ....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • ACC reflects on passing of great Kiwi
    Today is a very sad day for ACC, as news of the passing of Sir Owen Woodhouse has become public knowledge....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Lincoln cleaners outsourced
    Lincoln University will outsource its staff to an as yet undecided cleaning company, but TEU organiser Cindy Doull says it’s not worth it, and what money the university might save is negligible....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • New pipe ban will increase harm to cannabis consumers
    The Government will increase harm by further restricting the sale, supply and importation of drug harm reduction equipment. “This National-led Government seems to be encouraging use of the more harmful synthetics over safer natural cannabis....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Council can’t ban legal highs
    Under current law Gisborne District Council cannot ban the sale of legal highs (psychoactive substances) in our district. Council can restrict where these substances are sold....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Online job vacancies pick up in March
    The number of jobs advertised online grew by 1.9 per cent in March 2014, following a 1.3 per cent decrease in February, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • White Poppies for Peace Annual Appeal
    The White Poppies for Peace Annual Appeal, the main fundraiser for the White Poppy Peace Scholarships, starts tomorrow and runs through until Thursday, 24 April....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Lawyers saddened at passing of Sir Owen Woodhouse
    New Zealand has lost one of its greatest jurists with the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, New Zealand Law Society President Chris Moore said today....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • “Rock star economy’ throws hospital staff out the window
    The Public Service Association says administrative staff at hospitals around the country are missing out on Bill English’s ‘rock star economy’, with the Government instructing pay rises be limited to just 0.7%....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Sensible Sentencing backs call to ban legal highs
    Sensible Sentencing backs call to ban legal highs The Sensible Sentencing Trust is calling on the Government to take immediate action to ban legal highs. Trust Spokesman, Garth McVicar said he was appalled that the Government was so apathetic on...
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Paul Potts promotes Pink Shirt Day
    Opera singer Paul Potts has taken time out of his busy NZ tour schedule to show his support for bullying awareness campaign, Pink Shirt Day....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Ruataniwha decision bold and encouraging
    Ruataniwha decision bold and encouraging IrrigationNZ says the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve the $275million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme is bold and encouraging....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Ruataniwha gets to second base
    With the Ruataniwha Water Storage scheme getting the tick from a Board of Inquiry appointed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), the concept of water storage has passed a major milestone but a greater one is to ensure it is...
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Labour Should Hit the Brakes on Motorhome Tax
    Responding to the Ministry of Transport analysis of Labour’s new policy for taxing motorhomes, suggesting that motorhome owners would end up paying more for Road User Charges than they do today, Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Taxpayers’...
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Ruataniwha decision puts water demands before nature
    Independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird says the Board of Inquiry that today granted consent for the Ruataniwha irrigation dam has failed to account for the overall environmental damage the project would cause, if it is built....
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Voting on Te Mana O Ngāti Rangitihi Mandate Extended
    Te Mana o Ngāti Rangitihi (Te Mana) is encouraging all iwi descendants to make their voice heard and ensure they vote in the iwi mandating process, which has been extended another month. The voting period will now close on 30...
    Scoop politics | 15-04
  • Flavoured methamphetamine (S